Planning, Design and Implementation
Edited by Danielle Sinnett, Nicholas Smith and Sarah Burgess
Chapter 13: Towards inclusive green infrastructure
Physical, social and attitudinal barriers restrict full participation in many aspects of life for disabled and elderly people. Access to green infrastructure and the public realm that connects homes and workplaces to green spaces is no exception; many parks and green spaces are not geared to the needs of disabled people. Exclusion from the desirable benefits to health and well-being associated with access and use of green infrastructure represents a denial of the rights of disabled people. Finding ways to include disabled people could benefit everyone, not least because it makes business sense to facilitate the spending power of disabled and elderly people and encourage long-term independence. Legislation outlaws discriminatory behaviour and yet it continues. Strategies for making changes are suggested, including auditing green spaces and developing action plans. The principles of an inclusive or universal approach, based on the adoption of the social model of disability are put forward. Ultimately action for change rests on the shoulders of all the professionals whose work affects the design and management of green spaces and there is no substitute for committed and imaginative professionals who are prepared to work with the users of green space to make a real difference.
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